last night

The Girls on Girls Would Not Still Be Friends

Photo: Mark Schafer/HBO

Girls likes to sprinkle in surprises and twists here and there, and last night’s “Cubbies” got in a good one, with Hannah returning to New York to discover that Adam has a new girlfriend. (Gasp.) That was surprising, sort of, but the much more jarring, puzzling moment came earlier, when Shoshanna, Jessa, and Marnie hung out at a bar together. Whaaaaat? These people are still friends with each other? I don’t buy it. I buy that Hannah and Marnie are still in contact, and that Hannah and Jessa would keep in touch, but that’s it. There’s no way Marnie, Shoshanna, and Jessa would still be hanging out with each other. Maybe they’d still perform those friendship rituals of the group emails vowing to catch up, or the strained gathering where all there is to talk about is how good a time you all used to have together, but eventually they’d be reduced to a few tepid “likes” on Facebook until someone had a baby. They’re not still a team.

Shoshanna was always the odd Girl out, and her continued removal from reality makes that even more pronounced. Her assessment of Marnie’s song, that it was the kind of song you’d hate but grow to enjoy, was vacantly nasty, like much of Shosh’s behavior this season. Wouldn’t Marnie be spending time with other musicians or suitably chichi creative types? What is it she thinks Shoshanna has to offer in terms of music criticism? If Jessa can’t stand the dopiness of people in her AA meetings, how is she putting up with Shoshanna? Jessa and Marnie don’t have anything in common anymore, and it’s hard to imagine what they get out of a continued simulation of a relationship. Jessa desperately sought out Adam as a friend on the last episode, demonstrating that she doesn’t have the support system she wants, and that her current apparent friends are not enough. Seeing Marnie, Jessa, and Shosh together was odd and almost phony, and having that go unacknowledged felt out of step with the show’s tendency toward the hyperexamination of friendship dynamics: Whatever else it might lack in realism, Girls thrives on emotional authenticity.

I get that Girls can’t exactly get rid of its main characters, nor would I want the show to continue without Marnie or Jessa. (I could very happily live without Shoshanna, though!) But when it started, there was a sense of “at least we have each other” about the clique; now that doesn’t feel true anymore. Hannah decided to go to graduate school, Marnie decided to be a musician, Jessa got sober, Shosh finally graduated from college — reasonable, correct (except Marnie), important decisions, but decisions that sent each character off in a different direction. Amicable social drifting is a major part of  the post-post-college life, especially once people start figuring themselves out a bit better, like these characters have all done in the last season or so. Love and loyalty are more important than general shared interests, but the Girls don’t seem to love each other with the same kind of ease they once did. We all know that these people aren’t nearly as invested in each other’s lives anymore. How come they don’t know that?

The Girls on Girls Would Not Still Be Friends